As a designer who prepares schemes for several small developers in Sefton, Merseyside, I find it almost impossible to get applications for anything even considered.

The moratorium here limits new building throughout the borough to 350 units a year, but this is taken up by applications approved prior to the moratorium coming into effect. Converting weary old Victorian villas into apartments is okay and building in the depressed south end of the area is okay too, but nobody wants to live there!

First-time buyers have little or no chance of finding anything affordable unless they buy into a limited number of shared ownership schemes.

A way forward might be for developers or builders to provide their own shared ownership-type schemes, but this reduces what is already a relatively low profit margin. Anyone with any other ideas?

William McCain, Sefton council